Sony Alpha A3000 makes advanced cameras more affordable

If you've been longing for an advanced camera that accepts interchangeable lenses but leery of high prices, you're in luck: Today Sony announced two new advanced mirrorless or SLR-like digital cameras, one of which, the 20-megapixel Sony Alpha A3000, will cost only $400. And that's with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. It's a $100 to $200 drop in price from most entry-level advanced models and is even cheaper than some basic models.

Like most Alpha series cameras, the Sony Alpha A3000 has a high-quality electronic viewfinder, a large 3-inch LCD, and a hot shoe (to use an external flash), and it can capture full HD video. The Alpha A3000 also has a very wide ISO range for photos: 100-16,000 ISO, which may make it very sensitive when shooting in low light.

To find the right model for your needs and budget, check our buying guide and Ratings for digital cameras.

Unlike other Alpha models, the A3000 can use Sony's E-mount series of interchangeable lenses, which are generally geared for NEX SLR-likes. You'll need to buy a lens adapter to use Sony’s Alpha A-mount series lenses, which are larger and heavier than the E-mount series.

In addition to the Alpha model, Sony introduced a slightly more expensive, more compact NEX series camera, the 16-megapixel NEX-5T, $700 (with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 E-mount kit lens). It's not only wireless but also includes NFC (near-field communication) for wirelessly synching with mobile devices. It also has a swiveling 3-inch LCD touchscreen and an even wider ISO range than the A3000 for photos: 100-25,600 ISO.

Both cameras will be available in early September.

Sony also announced three E-mount-series lenses, which can be used with both new cameras:

  • 50mm f/1.8 prime or non-zoom lens, $300
  • 18-105mm f/4 lens (with a power zoom switch), $600
  • 16-70mm f/4 Zeiss lens, $1,000

—Terry Sullivan

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